You need to be part of the team

Jan. 1, 2006
There is a lot of talk in dental lectures about “the team.” Dentists need a good team to help run their offices.

by Louis Malcmacher, DDS, FAGD

There is a lot of talk in dental lectures about “the team.” Dentists need a good team to help run their offices. Dentists can’t do everything themselves, so they need their front office staff, hygienists, and dental assistants to be part of their team.

Truthfully, this team should be much broader than the people who are directly in the office every day. The most successful dental manufacturer and supply representatives are and should be an integral part of any dental office team. The most successful representatives I know are precious members of dental offices.

How does this happen? How is it that some representatives walk into a dental office and are greeted with open arms and smiles while other representatives can’t even get the time of day from the doctor or staff? Indeed, there seem to be some representatives who literally show up at a dentist’s office and walk through the door as if they work there. They spend the time, talk with the doctor and staff at their own convenience, and then, if appropriate, take an order and leave. Other representatives will try to make an appointment for days on end, then, when they finally get there, the dentist or staff barely spends two minutes with them and they leave dejected and disappointed.

Here are some secrets on how you or your reps can become members of every dental office’s team:

Respect the rest of the team’s time. The dental office can be a very hectic place. If a rep comes in with something that does not interest us but still tries to push it on us, he or she will make us run behind, waste our time, and won’t be welcome in the future. If the rep comes in with the agenda of what he or she wants to sell to the dental office, that is a sure recipe for failure.

Discover the office’s priorities. Find out what the dental office wants or needs, then stick to that subject until you build some respect and value for what you do.

Build the relationship to make yourself part of the team. Relationships in the dental office are very important. If I, the dentist, know that I can trust you and know that you have my best interests at heart, I will give you much more leeway in terms of office access and writing orders. If I get the feeling that the representative’s interests are purely his or her own, then he or she will never see the inside of my office.

Once the relationship has been built, ask if you can be a member of the team. Dentists simply don’t think about team members other than the people they have in front of them every single moment. Plant the seed in the dentist’s mind that you are a serious part of the dental team and the relationship will really start to grow.

The dental staff is king. If the staff likes you, then there is a good chance that the dentist will also like you. If you are a good team member and learn to take care of the rest of the team, then the team leader - in this case, the dentist - will treat you with the respect that you have gained.

The ultimate goal is that your customer dentists have successful offices. No one can build an office by themselves and that’s why team members are so very important. Work hard to make sure that you are part of every one of your dentist customers’ teams and you’ll be rewarded appropriately.

If I can help in any way, please don’t hesitate to contact me at (440) 892-1810 or by email at [email protected].

Dr. Louis Malcmacher is an internationally known lecturer, consultant, and author known for his comprehensive and entertaining style. An evaluator for Clinical Research Associates, Dr. Malcmacher has served as a spokesman for the Academy of General Dentistry and is a consultant to the Council on Dental Practice of the American Dental Association. He works closely with dental manufacturers as a clinical researcher in developing new products and techniques, and has extensive experience training sales teams. For close to two decades, Dr. Malcmacher has inspired his audiences to truly enjoy doing dentistry by providing the knowledge necessary for excellent clinical and practice management. His group dental practice has maintained a 45 percent overhead since 1988.